Jiang Zhen came to this place less than a year ago, so he had not lived in Hexi for a long time. Even then, he did not have many good memories. Still, he missed Hexi a lot. After all, there was Zhao Fugui and Zhao Liu here, and he regarded them as family and his home.
Jinng Zhen’s heart was like a compass—the closer he was to Hexi, the heavier his heart felt. He felt this way for no other reason than that . . . going to and returning from the capital this time, one of his men was dead.
Only one of his men had died, so he was much better than Zheng family’s caravan, but a man was dead after all. That person . . . was the one he took outside with him. Jiang Zhen didn’t want such an accident to happen, but he felt guilty in the end.
“Boss, why are you upset?” Jiang Ming asked in puzzlement.
Jiang Zhen didn’t say anything; he only looked at the box beside him.
The dead villager was surnamed Li Yuan. He was only eighteen years old. After the Zheng family’s fleet docked, Jiang Zhen brought the people to bury him and packed all his belongings in this chest.
Afterwards, the pension given by the Zheng family was also packed by Jiang Zhen, as well as part of silver he robbed from the pirates.
Now, in addition to his relics, this chest also had 300 silver in it. In addition, Jiang Zhen bought some things in the capital and put them in another box, which would also be given by him to Li Yuan’s family.
Seeing Jiang Zhen do this, his subordinates also gave some things, and they were all placed in the box.
“Boss, the silver you gave is already a lot. Li Yuan’s parents won’t blame you,” Jiang Ming said. Not to mention, Li Yuan’s parents, even his own parents would not blame him after seeing so much silver.
“In the end, the person is gone,” Jiang Zhen said.
He also knew that the pension he gave could already be considered to be a lot. When he originally chose people, he specifically did not choose people who were the only sons . . . In this place where human lives were worthless that even human trading was common, it was unlikely that anyone would blame him, but he was still not very comfortable at heart.
Jiang Ming and others became silent at this news. Yes, in the end this person was gone. The person who originally went to the capital with them was gone.
Although it was quite normal to have four children in the family these days, some people had six or seven children, and only three or four could be raised. However, this man died in front of them, so they didn’t feel good in the end.
The boat slowly approached Hexi, and soon, everyone disembarked. Everyone’s faces didn’t look too good.
“Jiang Zhen! Jinge!” a voice suddenly called out, and Jiang Zhen raised his head to see Zhao Fugui standing by the river.
This person who had always been silent and seemed to have limited words and smiles was smiling broadly, revealing a mouthful of heavily worn teeth, most of which were blackened or yellowed.
However, he quickly closed his mouth and stopped smiling, only saying, “You guys are finally back. It’s good you came back.”
Zhao Fugui, ever since Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge went to the capital, liked to have something to do and wandered around the river and the road to the country town. Today he was wandering around again.
He was so happy to see Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge from afar, but the expressions on Jiang Zhen’s face and the others made his heart thud. These people’s faces did not look good; he was afraid that the journey to the capital was not a smooth one. However, it’s okay. It didn’t matter if it didn’t go well, as long as they were back.
Zhao Fugui took a look and found that Jiang Zhen looked to be in good condition, and his son looked slightly fatter, so he finally put his mind at ease.
Then he saw something else, such as . . . these people were all empty-handed except for carrying two boxes.
Actually, when Jiang Zhen went home, he also wanted to bring more things with him, but he had a lot of people and couldn’t find more boats for a while, so where could he put those things? If he were to go back and forth to fetch stuff, wasn’t it better to bring his men back?
After taking a look at the big men holding big and small bags, Jiang Zhen simply asked those men to leave their things on the ship for the time being and to come back tomorrow to pick them up. He, of course, would do the same. So all of them who returned home only brought a small bag full of silver and nothing else, much less than all that they took with them from the capital.
Nowadays, who didn’t bring something home from a long trip! Unless you’ve suffered outside and spent all your money and really didn’t have anything to bring home . . .
Zhao Fugui was becoming more and more certain that Jiang Zhen’s trip didn’t go well. Having come up with such a conclusion, Zhao Fugui was not in a position to ask anything more. “Do you want me to help?”
“Dad, no need,” Jiang Zhen said. He carried two bags with him and let Zhao Jinge get off the boat first.
His two bags were filled with gold and silver, as well as two set of clothes for Zhao Liushi and Zhao Fugui. These bags were a bit bigger than the others, so when he walked out, he carried them both.
Zhao Jinge had been taken good care of by Jiang Zhen, so when Jiang Zhen asked him to get off the boat first, he did just that. As soon as he got off the boat, he immediately went to Zhao Fugu.
“Nonsense.” Zhao Fugui glared at his son. “How can you make Jiang Zhen carry all the bags? Don’t you even know how to lend a hand?”
His son had become really more and more improper. How can he let his husband carry bags without taking some things himself?
When Jiang Zhen paid the fare, he saw his father-in-law scolding his wife, so he hurriedly went over: “Dad, Jinge is not feeling well.”
“There’s nothing wrong with him. I think he’s very strong.” Zhao Fugui looked at his son and found that his son showed a circle of fur. He couldn’t help saying, “Jiang Zhen, don’t give him all the good things. Even you just wear a cotton-padded jacket, so how can you let him wear leather?”
It took only less than a month to come back, so Zhao Jinge had been pregnant for over five months. In fact, his stomach was bulging a lot, but people couldn’t see it because of his thick clothes, which made Zhao Fugui only think that he was wearing too much.
Jiang Zhen was about to tell his father-in-law that Zhao Jinge was pregnant, but Zhao Fugui looked around and whispered, “Besides, why are you back by boat? It cost a lot of money!” He didn’t earn a lot going out but was wasting money by returning by boat?
Knowing that Zhao Fugui must have misunderstood, Jiang Zhen said, “Dad, we made a lot of money on this trip.” In such a round trip, when the goods on hand were sold. Coupled with the ships and the house in the capital, his property was valued at more than 200,000 silver, so he was definitely a rich man. Many of them took a boat together, but it only cost a few copper coins. It really didn’t cost much . . .
Although these days, silver was not as valuable as in previous dynasties, officials in the imperial court charged tens of thousands of silver for bribes, so his 200,000 was already quite a lot.
Zhao Fugui thought that Jiang Zhen loved spending money and didn’t believe Jiang Zhen, who didn’t even bring back a piece of pork this time, but he still gave Jiang Zhen’s face. “Let’s go back and talk.”
Jiang Zhen nodded and thought it would be better to go back and then say it. Just then, someone suddenly rushed to them, shouting, “Zhao Fugui, something has happened, and old lady Jiang ran to your house!”
After the man shouted, he found that Jiang Zhen was also there and said, “Jiang Zhen, you are back! They will be fine when you get back.”
Jiang Zhen knew that this man had a good relationship with the Zhao family. Now that this man said that old lady Jiang had gone to the Zhao family’s house . . . What was going on?
With a frown, Jiang Zhen was about to go home. But after a few steps, he looked at He Qiusheng and others: “You . . . take these things to Li’s house first.”
Li Yuan was dead. He should go to the Li’s house as soon as he was back, but something happened to Zhao Liu, so he needed to go there first.
“Don’t worry, boss. We’ll get it done,” He Chunsheng immediately said.
Nodding towards He Chunsheng, Jiang Zhen immediately rushed towards the Zhao family house while asking the one who reported the news, “What’s going on?”
“Jiang Chengwen was cheated of money. In order to raise money, old lady Jiang told Jiang Xiaomei but . . . It’s not a good marriage, making Jiang Xiaomei run away, and the Jiang family ran to the Zhao family,” the man said.
Jiang Zhen frowned when he heard that.
He didn’t like old lady Jiang or Butcher Jiang, nor did he like Jiang Chengwen or Jiang Chengxiang. He had no feelings for his two sisters-in-law or that nephew, but for Jiang Xiaomei . . . She was the only one in the Jiang family he liked.
Although Jiang Xiaomei also liked to be lazy and wouldn’t help him work, she never bullied Eldest Jiang, and if there was anything good to eat that old lady Jiang gave her, she would still leave a little for Eldest Jiang.
Jiang Zhen was using Eldest Jiang’s body, so he also remembered the kindness that the eldest Jiang received. He did not repay the favor before, partly because he himself wasn’t very capable at that time and partly because the Jiang family wasn’t really particularly bad to Jiang Xiaomei.
He remembered that when old lady Jiang cooked eggs, she would specially give one to Jiang Xiaomei.
Unlike him, Jiang Xiaomei definitely didn’t want to break ties with her parents, and old lady Jiang and Butcher Jiang treated her well. In such a situation, he didn’t need to do much, waiting for the future when Jiang Xiaomei got married, so he could give her some money and keep a close eye on her mother-in-law’s family, which would be enough.
Jiang Zhen had always thought that Butcher Jiang and old lady Jiang would find a good marriage for Jiang Xiaomei no matter what. At most, she would be given less dowry, but he never thought . . .
Jiang Zhen was in a hurry, but when he saw that Zhao Jinge looked even more anxious, he said, “Jinge, go slowly and be careful . . .”
Zhao Jinge didn’t slow down, and Jiang Zhen shivered as he watched him run and he could only protect him carefully.
Seeing this, Zhao Fugui felt more and more that his son was too preposterous.
Meanwhile, at the Zhao family’s side, things were already chaotic.
Old lady Jiang brought Jiang Chengwen, Butcher Jiang, and some people from the Jiang family to surround the Sun Xiaoshan and Zhao Liu. Then she looked at Zhao Liu aggressively. This matter of the Jiang family started a month ago.
A month ago, Jiang Chengwen suddenly came home and said that there was a big business that he could do and asked for money. At that time, old lady Jiang listened carefully to his introduction of this business, but Butcher Jiang didn’t believe it and was not willing to give him money. After that, Jiang Chengwen asked for money almost every day. However, even though he cried and cried and even tried to hang himself, Butcher Jiang still had no money and was not willing to give him any.
In fact, at the end of the day, Butcher Jiang was still a bit moved by Jiang Chengwen’s persistence. He thought that it must be a good business. The main reason why he insisted on not giving money was because he didn’t have any. For someone his age, he would not sell things to engage in this “big business” thing.
Jiang Chengwen had been making trouble for many days, but finally, it subsided. Butcher Jiang took it as a sign that he had given up on this “big business” and advised him to do some other small business . . . such as selling food or something on the market.
If he made steamed buns, even if he couldn’t sell them, he could eat them by himself so he would not lose a lot of money. But Jiang Chengwen despised this kind of business.
Edited by: Faro